Acquiring a Scientific Vocabulary

A Short Course for Building Lexical Literacy for Advancing AP and College Students

by Anthony M. Belmont


View First 25 Pages: (free download)


A short course specifically designed for high school AP science students and college freshmen or sophomores in any science courses to provide an understanding of how scientific terminology is composed and to give students a "ballpark" knowledge of terms they see for the first time.

It is extremely important that students be able recognize and use words in their specialized fields correctly. A basic knowledge of Latin and Greek prefixes, roots, and suffixes will enhance the student's ability to read and understand technically focused writing in books, scholarly journals, magazines, and other media. They can benefit from mastering the building blocks of scientific and technical terminology to strengthen their vocabulary and enhance their reading comprehension. High School students taking AP courses and college students may find this book particularly helpful as they strive to master new material. With the information which they memorize they will be able to understand the basic meanings of unfamiliar words they encounter, especially within context, without having to look them up in a dictionary.


As a new Assistant Professor teaching science courses, I realized that my students were having trouble with scientific terminology. Incorporating the use of prefixes, suffixes, roots and bases used to construct scientific terms into their course work to demonstrate how words are formed appeared to help students be better able to spell, remember, and define terms used in their classes. Feedback from students taking other science classes indicated that learning the basic construction of terms helped them achieve better understanding and made learning easier. Consultation with Dr. Belmont resulted in his writing this text using a systematic approach to students for further science courses. I used his text in a short course for several semesters to test the concepts set forth in his book and was met with success.
Randall H. Adams, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Agriculture, Southern Arkansas University

About the Author

Dr. Anthony M. Belmont, Emeritus Professor of English, Southern Arkansas University. Received a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Arkansas and taught English Literature, Philosophy, and Composition for 38 years, Taught Technical Writing to upper-division science and business students.